To see the μHammer in action, click here!
Congratulations to Profs. Kimberly Turner and Megan Valentine for their recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study the mechanical properties of neural tissue and the subsequent effects on brain function. The grant was one of eighteen awarded as part of the NSF Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems program, part of the NSF BRAIN Initiative, which seeks to promote interdisciplinary collaboration to accelerate neurotechnical research. The awards span four research themes, including neuroengineering and brain-inspired concepts and designs; individuality and variation; cognitive and neural processes in realistic, complex environments; and data-intensive neuroscience and cognitive science. Our team will receive a four-year grant in the amount of $885,000 to support their cross-disciplinary neuroengineering research.
Collaborating with Adele Doyle of UCSB's Center for Bioengineering, Turner and Valentine's research will focus on the development of a device capable of applying precise forces to single cells over just a few microseconds in order to examine the consequences of force on neurons. This innovative new device, called the "μHammer", will leverage cutting edge engineering tools to enable entirely novel classes of experiments, in which the biological consequences of impact loading can be recorded and monitored as a funcation of force amplitude, direction, duration, and time after loading. This award will enable game-changing breakthroughs in medicine providing a new understanding of the role of force and mechanics in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Alzheimer's Disease while also providing a unique learning environment for undergraduate and graduate students in neuroengineering.
For more information on the μHammer research, click here.
For more information on the BRAIN Initiative, click here.